iPhone 1.96

Ok, the first pass at adding applications. What looks like fun?

The first things are the ones that I already use most of the time – AIM, Facebook, and Twitter. Each of them now get a nice icon on the phone.

AIM.pngAIM, instant messanger

Facebook.pngFacebook

twitterrificmoblie.pngTwitterific

The very first impression is that I think I like these better than the ones on my MacBook. AIM feels very chat-like, Twitterific is very twitterific, and most interestingly Facebook now feels more like chat and twitter than a portal page. That is something I like.

Facebook almost brings my exploration to a halt. The change in interface makes it seem much more personal, much more usable, much more mobile. This, I suspect, is much more like what Web 3.0 will be than some information portal like site.

Picking up the iPod touch was definitely a good idea.

iPhone 1.95

ipod-touch-5.jpgQuite frankly, the 10 million applications downloaded and installed in 3 days shocked me. On Tuesday (July 14th), I headed off to Small Dog to pick up an iPod Touch. I rationalized that I could turn this into my ibricking prototype. I’ll brick the pod first, then the phone. Any rationalization will do in a pinch.

That was, unfortunately, a slightly misfound action. I went to the store and the cupboards were bare, at least of the 8 Gb iPod. The weekend of the 12th and 13th was a Vermont Sales Tax Holiday, and Small Dog had a good weekend. But, I said, your website says you have some in stock! Yes, but those are in Waitsfield. Now if my check engine light wasn’t on, I would have driven to Waitsfield and been set.

Instead, I had to cool my heels and wait.

Two days.

The Touch arrived on Thursday and I picked it up that evening, and first things first, updated the software from 1.something to 2.0. Another $10 but, hey, it’s good practice for for unbricking :) It all went more or less smoothly except that:

  • iTunes is showing it’s age. The product registration process and then the update process all took far too many clicks and page refreshes. No wonder there were problems last Friday. Strategically, iTunes has got to go – get replaced with an iStore or something that has one-click shopping features like Amazon or Google Checkout. This was not nice.
  • Once I had downloaded some applications to iTunes to install on my iPod, iTunes said “ouch, that’s not my iPod, that’s someone else’s” – after, of course, it had installed the update. Luckily, the App Store Application downloaded the products I wanted directly to my iPod. And that was a 1-click process, with only a password required to verify the transaction. This was nice.

And now, spoiler coming, the real fun begins. And real fun it is.

iPhone 2.0

The process of bricking and bricking begins anew.

iphoneJune102008.jpg

A month ago, Apple announced both the iPhone 3 G and the iPhone 2.0 software. The 3 G will work on (GSM) 3 G Networks; the 2.0 software will breakout of Safari browser land and work with the interal system with development supported by an SDK. The roll out would be accompanied by a the iPhone App store embedded in iTunes. [Hmm. Wondering if they are pondering an iStore in the future?]

On Friday, July 11, these became available in 22 countries – with 48 more countries lined up for the remainder of the year. The day was accompanied by server meltdowns – both at Apple and at AT&T. People were upset, at least until Monday when the story was unfolded. In the first weekend, over 1 million iPhones were sold, clearing the shelves. Even more interesting, over 10 million applications were downloaded.

Jailbreaking this time around will saner. The worldwide release means that the system has to be easily localized and relocalized; unlocking the sims is more of a feature than ever. The SDK will make it easier for the developers to build robust, interesting, and responsive applications. The ipod development team announced that the phone was ready to be broken – they already had the pre-release system jailbroken and would only have to tweak it for the released version. The unlocking of the 3G will take a bit more time since the hardware was unavailable and, initially at least, more difficult to obtain.

A week of gPhone daydreams

gPhone conceptual design

No sooner had the Great Pumpkin passed than the Wall Street Journal fires up speculation about the “any day now” gPhone announcement.

The rumors cluster around three sets of ideas:

1. Google is interested in developing an ad-based cell phone market place, where the phone and/or usage would be subsidized by ads. “Hi, this is your Mother speaking,” … “We pause this phone call for a short message from our sponsor …”, … “Did you forget your Dad’s birthday again ?” The scenario is interesting, but faces interesting marketing challenges.

2. Google is interested in developing a unix based smart phone architecture and operating system through which it could place local and/or otherwise smart ads. This would be partly a general keitai device, with access to mapping services, etc. iMode for gOogle. The software, and an SDK would be open sourced and free for cell phone manufacturers. Again an interesting scenario, especially with the rapidity with which Chinese manufacturers were able to demonstrate prototypes of iPhone clones. The catch here is that most cell phone companies are loath to allow users to choose their own devices, at least in the United States. Of course, gOogle maybe thinking globally, with an eye to developing Google.cn and Google.in.

3. Google is interested in producing services that run on regular cellphones. That is already partially true – Google Mobile services supports the google homepage, google search. gmail, … google.com/mobile … – which run nicely enough on some devices. Other devices, well. In this scenario, google would try to urge regular vendors and networks to be more google friendly, perhaps offering to share revenues. The bit of light in this scenario is “fear of iPhone.” Everyone (ha!) is afraid of being left behind the technology shift, with the phone companies going the way of the recording industry.

4. Google is interested in becoming a communications carrier. This is the scenario that comes out of google’s earlier efforts to get the FCC to require an “open access” policy for the 700 Mhz spectrum with the promise that it would thereby enter the bidding for spectrum. As far fetched as this seems, Google is a very fat Cash Cow, so this is something it could afford to do. Or, even less far fetched, something it could encourage – it could buy the spectrum, but allow 3rd parties to franchise the services, perhaps offering support in interesting, money making rules.

Or, all of the above. Which is what I expect to eventually happen. In any case, if the one concrete item in the rumors is true … that an announcement will be made tomorrow, November 6th, we will soon know. Too bad they don’t hire Steve Jobs to do the announcement for them :)

Sources:

John Markoff, I, Robot: The Man Behind the Google Phone, New York Times, November 4, 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/technology/04google.html

Ben Worthen, Ring-Ring…Google to Announce Phone Plans Monday, Wall Street Journal Online, November 1, 2007, 5:34 pm. http://blogs.wsj.com/biztech/2007/11/01/ring-ringgoogle-to-announce-phone-plans-monday/

Ben Worthen, The Gphone Is All About Mobile Software, Wall Street Journal Online, October 31, 2007, 1:10 pm. http://blogs.wsj.com/biztech/2007/10/31/the-gphone-is-all-about-mobile-software/

Amol Sharma, Can Google-Powered Phones Connect With Carriers?, Wall Street Journal Online, October 30, 2007; Page B1. http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB119369951717475558.html

Amol Sharma and Kevin J. Delaney, Google Pushes Tailored Phones To Win Lucrative Ad Market, Wall Street Journal Online, August 2, 2007; Page A1. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118602176520985718.html

–, Le Gphone dévoilé dans 15 jours ?, Abondance, lundi 27 août 2007. http://actu.abondance.com/2007/08/le-gphone-dvoil-dans-15-jours.html

Eric Schmidt, Google Intends to Bid in Spectrum Auction If FCC Adopts Consumer Choice and Competition Requirements, Google, Mountain View, California, July 20, 2007. http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/pressrel/20070720_wireless.html

iPhone 1.1.2 Update on the way

T3, the gadget website, is reporting hands-on time with the UK version of the iPhone 1.1.2 ROM version.

iPhone 1.1.2 Firmware

The not really unexpected update fixes the TIFF display error that provided the 1.1.1 Jailbreak route. Business wise, this is good news security wise, but not so good for the community of users wanting a bit more out of their cellphone than Apple, AT&T, Verizon, etc, care to offer. Cash cows are Sacred Cows.

Sources:

Mark Wilson, UK iPhone Launching with 1.1.2 Firmware, Jailbreak Broken., Saturday, Nov 3, 2007, 10:45 pm. http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/crap/uk-iphone-launching-with-112-firmware-jailbreak-broken-318611.php

It’s Official: iPhone 1.1.2, T3, 2007-11-04, http://www.t3.co.uk/news/247/communications/mobile_phone/iphone-firmware-update-2

One-click Jailbreak for iPhone 1.1.1

 A “one-click” (almost zero-click) jailbreak has been released for iPhone 1.1.1. Just point your iPhone’s Safari browser at http://www.jailbreakme.com/, tap the “install” link, and in a few minutes, your iPhone now has Installer running on it. And, as a byproduct, the TIFF bug is repaired (preventing further exploitation of this “feature.”)

Get Out of Jail Free

iPhone Atlas, reports in an interview with Nicholas “Drudge” Penree, one of the developers of AppSnapp, that 150,000 visits have been made to the site resulting in approximately 100,000 downloads. Earlier, Apple itself had estimated that 250,000 iPhones have been “jailbroken,” so this 100,000 number may be a major increase in freed phones.

AppSnapp allows the installation of 3rd party applications on the iPhone; AnySim is necessary for using 3rd party cellular services.

Sources:

Nearly 150,000 installs of AppSnapp in 3 days, iPhoneAtlas.Com, Posted 31 October 2007 @ 2pm. http://www.iphoneatlas.com/2007/10/31/nearly-150000-installs-of-appsnapp-iphone-3rd-party-appjailbreak-tool-in-3-days/

Tom Krazit, More than 100,000 iPhone owners break out of jail, October 31, 2007 4:28 PM PDT. http://www.news.com/8301-13579_3-9808647-37.html

Tom Krazit, Apple: 250,000 iPhones bought to unlock, Cnet News, October 23, 2007 5:28 PM PDT. http://www.news.com/8301-13579_3-9802980-37.html

iPhone Ecology : exploring the grey market

AppleInsider.Com reports on a Piper Jaffray anlysis of recent Apple sales estimating that 10% of the iPhones sold are destined for resale as unlocked iPhones.  Gene Munster, the lead analyst, bases this estimate is based on observations of customer behavior at Apple stores across the country. The researchers noticed the relatively large number of customers purchasing the maximum number of 5 phones (per store.) From this, they estimate that 10% of the iPhones are destined for use on non-AT&T based networks.

Katie Marsal, Report: 10 percent of September iPhones sold to unlocking teams, AppleInsider, Thursday, October 4, 2007,